Jeep Grand Cherokee

UPDATE: Here is the statement we received from Chrysler regarding NHTSA's query: "Chrysler Group LLC advised the National Highway Traffic Administration of the six reports and, in accordance with the Company's long-standing practice, is cooperating fully with the resulting investigation. Customer safety is paramount at Chrysler Group. Customers who are concerned may call 1-800-853-1403."

It appears that Jeep's repairs for nearly one million Grand Cherokees from 2002-2004 and Liberty models from 2002-2003 might not be over yet. The vehicles were first recalled in November 2012 because the front airbags could suddenly deploy without being in an accident. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening a recall query into them because of reports of inadvertent activation on some already corrected vehicles.

The original problem affected over 919,000 vehicles worldwide, including 744,822 in the US, and was caused by a degrading circuit in the wires that control the airbags. In some cases the airbag warning light would come on just before the premature activation, but in other cases it would just happen. The automaker installed an "in-line jumper harness with an integrated electrical filter" meant to eliminate the power spikes believed to be the cause.

That might not have been sufficient, though. Chrysler has reported six incidents to NHTSA of recalled vehicles still having sudden airbag deployment, even after the repair. There have been no crashes recorded so far but some alleged cuts and burns. At the moment, the investigation appears to be in the early stages with all data other than the six reports listed as "TBD."

Chrysler responded to Autoblog's questions with a prepared state about the investigation, which you can read above. Scroll down to read NHTSA's recall query.
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ODI RESUME
Investigation: RQ 14-001
Date Opened: 05/29/2014
Investigator: Evan Frings
Reviewer: Scott Yon
Approver: Jennifer Timian
Subject: Inadvertent Airbag Deployment

MANUFACTURER & PRODUCT INFORMATION
Manufacturer: Chrysler Group LLC
Products: 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty and 2002-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Population: 744,822

Problem Description: The driver and/or passenger frontal air bags can inadvertently deploy (without a crash) while the vehicle is in operation (both at startup and while driving on road).

FAILURE REPORT SUMMARY

ODI

Manufacturer

Total

Complaints:

0

TBD

TBD

Crashes/Fires:

0

TBD

TBD

Injury Incidents:

0

TBD

TBD

Number of Injuries:

0

TBD

TBD

Fatality Incidents:

0

TBD

TBD

Number of Fatalities:

0

TBD

TBD

Other*:

0

6

TBD


*Description of Other: Reports identified by the manufacturer and voluntarily reported to ODI.

ACTION / SUMMARY INFORMATION
Action: Open a Recall Query (RQ).

Summary:
On November 7th, 2012 Chrysler issued safety recall 12V-527 to address the possibility of an inadvertent air bag deployment (IABD) on MY02-03 Liberty vehicles built through 03/28/03 and MY02-04 Grand Cherokee vehicles built through 5/23/03. The recall was in response to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) investigation EA12-001 during which data provided by Chrysler indicates that the air bag squib filter circuitry inside the Occupant Restraint Control (ORC) module can degrade. ORC degradation can result in an inadvertent air bag deployment, without a crash or impact, while the vehicle is being operated on the roadway. An IABD may result in injuries consisting of burns, cuts and bruises to the upper body region. Some owners have informed NHTSA that the air bag warning light (ABL) and/or chime activated just seconds prior to the IABD, while others informed that no ABL illumination occurred.

The remedy Chrysler developed consists of installing an in-line jumper harness with an integrated electrical filter for the circuits that connect to the air bag modules (squib circuits). This filter is intended to eliminate transient electrical spikes to the ORC which Chrysler believes are responsible for the IABDs. In discussions with ODI, Chrysler reported it is aware of 6 vehicles that have had an IABD after the recall was conducted; in each case the remedy filter had been installed in the vehicle. No crashes were reported however injuries consisting of cuts and burns were alleged.

A recall query has been opened to investigate the effectiveness of the remedy for recall 12V-527.